Sermon – Lent 1 – March 10, 2019
Romans 10:8b-13 ‘A Name’
CT: Because of Jesus’ name we will never be ashamed, because we can count on His active work of faith in us.
Intro: Maybe you can remember pouring over baby names, hoping to settle on one before the baby is born. Many parents go to great lengths to make their child’s name stand out as different; they want it to be as unique as their child is. After all, your name is important; it identifies you as you! (Name on gov’t ID)
Maybe you were named after someone in your family. John the Baptist would have been named Zechariah, after his father, if family had their way, but Zechariah wrote on a tablet, “His name is John,” which is the name the angel had given him. (Luke 1) Many names also have a meaning; Irene is Greek for peace, and Koen is Hebrew for priest. Joseph was told that the child that would be born of Mary was to be called Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). His name , Yeshu’ah, in Hebrew means, salvation or deliverance, or simply put ‘God saves’!
Confidence: In our Epistle lesson, Paul quotes the prophet Joel as he draws on the importance of one name in particular. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Confessing and believing in this name means everything! It’s as Peter confessed before the ruling council in Jerusalem: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
But this name is not some magical mantra. (Not everyone…Lord, Lord/Mathew 7:21) The words on our lips go hand in hand with what is in our hearts. Confession and faith are partners bound together by the ‘Word of faith’ that has come near to us. The Word creates faith in hearing of who Jesus is and what He has done. What you believe, the content of your faith is incredibly important; it’s what you express with your mouth, and shapes how you live! We confess that Jesus is Lord, because we believe with our hearts that God raised Him from the dead. To believe in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead goes beyond believing in Christ crucified, for without the resurrection we would still be in our sins and without hope. Jesus’ resurrection is the decisive and distinctive belief of every Christian. To acknowledge and believe in Jesus’ resurrection is to also acknowledge and believe that He suffered and died for you on the cross. That’s how He got dead! Our Lenten services focus on Jesus’ journey to the cross and His atoning sacrifice for our sins, and this is truly a key component of the Gospel, but it is all for nothing without the empty tomb. Jesus spoke to His disciples many times about His coming crucifixion, but always ended with, “and on the third day be raised.” (cf Luke 9:22)
Jesus is Lord: So to confess Jesus to be Lord is no small matter, and tantamount to blasphemy to a God fearing Jew. God is holy; we cannot go to Him so no one was ready for Him to come to us in the flesh! And so we often don’t catch the significance of what is being confessed. Jesus is no other than the Lord, the great I Am of the Old Testament. More than 6,000 times in the Old Testament, the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translates Yaweh, God’s name, as Lord. In our English translations you’ll see it in special capital letters L-O-R-D. Yet the New Testament writers freely acknowledge that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End; He is God from all eternity, who humbled Himself to be with us and for us in human flesh through a virgin named Mary. And what is confessed is absolutely believed in the heart that this Lord, our God, died for us and was raised from the dead. The resurrection is the slam dunk proof of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Therefore, you will be saved; not might be or could be, but will be saved!
Not Ashamed: Paul, confident of this fact, drew on the words of Isaiah 26:16, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” Paul adds the ‘everyone’ to Isaiah’s words to drive His point home that God’s grace is for everyone. Even as all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and all are also under the Law whether they acknowledge it or not (Romans 2:12-16), the proclamation of the Word of faith is for all to hear, and the promise of the Gospel is extended to all that none should be left out. When the Holy Spirit creates faith through the Gospel you can be certain of this; you will not be put to shame. Believing in Jesus as our resurrected Lord, you will not face a stern and unmoved Judge, but a forgiving Father, for you are the recipients of Christ’s righteousness; “the righteousness based on faith.” (10:6) Even as Paul early on in Romans wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)
Rich to You: This assurance you and I have in God’s Name is not based on anything we’ve done or any worthiness on our part, but solely on who God is. God is impartial, because all things and all people belong to Him; therefore He makes no distinction between Jew and Gentile, between you and your neighbour. Jesus is the same Lord of all and so everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame, and more; everyone who calls on His name will receive the riches of forgiveness, life, and salvation, which only He can provide. To call upon Jesus in prayer is an affirmation of His divinity; a confession that He is Lord and God of all!
The Name: And so we return to the Name that Paul holds up with such confidence. The inclusiveness of the Word of faith is clearly articulated in this direct quote from Joel: “Everyone who calls upon the name of the LORD (Yaweh) will be delivered.” Paul tied Jesus directly to God’s name. Jesus not only shares God’s name, but all of His nature as He truly is Yaweh come to us in the flesh. Jesus is the Word of faith who has come close to you that we believing might not perish but be saved from our sinful selves and have eternal life. Names are important, but none are as important as the name of Jesus. His is the name that is above all names, and in the end every knee will bow at His name whether they believe in Him or not, for He will either be their Judge or their Redeemer. (Philippians 2:9-11) Yet you, through the Word of faith, already have Christ’s riches; by the name of Jesus you are forgiven; you are saved.